What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a complex disorder that presents as a chronic skin condition which appears as salmon pink patches covered with a silvery scale particularly over the elbows, knees and scalp. It occurs when the skin cells divide and proliferate too quickly, piling up into a thick scale. The nails may also be affected becoming rough and pitted.
What causes it?
Psoriasis is a complex hereditary condition but may be exacerbated or triggered by certain infectious, pharmaceutical, and recreational agents such as:
- Numerous environmental factors such as trauma to the skin.
- Certain drugs like lithium, anti-malarials and beta-blockers.
- Infections including streptococcal throat infections and HIV.
- Smoking, alcohol consumption.
- Stress – patients commonly point out the role of stress in psoriatic flares. The psoriasis itself can be a significant stressor.
Who gets Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is not contagious. It can occur at any age but commonly presents for the first time in the late teenage years (16 to 22) or late middle-age (57 to 60 years). Unpredictable periods of activity and remission of the condition transpire. In fact, 50 percent of patients will undergo spontaneous remission which may last from several weeks to many years.
Arthritis (joint inflammation) occurs in association with the skin disease in around 8 percent of psoriasis sufferers.
Treatment and general recommendations
- Avoid trigger factors like smoking and alcohol.
- Moderate sunlight exposure (about an hour a day) is frequently helpful, as ultra-violet light inhibits the activity of cells in the skin.
- Some people find that heat therapy in the form of heating pads or hot baths resolves skin lesions.
- Follow “The Liver Cleansing Diet”, as poor liver function will exacerbate this condition. The principles of this diet should be followed as a way of life to ensure the blood is being cleaned efficiently of toxins. The liver is the major ‘filter’ of the body. If this vital organ becomes “clogged”, other organs of waste elimination, such as the skin, must be more heavily relied upon.
- Include cold-water fish like herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna, which are rich in the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These are excellent for reducing inflammation of the skin.
- Include high fiber foods like raw fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds. This is because a low fiber diet increases the levels of endotoxin-producing bacteria in the bowel, and psoriasis is associated with high levels of these endotoxins.
- A diet low in animal protein (or alternatively a vegetarian diet) can have excellent results in some sufferers. The “Liver Cleansing Diet”is excellent in this regard.
- Drink 1 to 2 liters of water daily.
- Finally, it may also be worthwhile to try an elimination diet to see if food allergy could be exacerbating the problem. Foods which have triggered psoriasis in some people include gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats), fruits (especially citrus and pineapple), tomatoes, nuts, corn, milk, coffee and soft drinks.
Freshly made raw fruit and vegetable juices are vital. Recipes may be found in “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life Book”
Appropriate recipes for Psoriasis are:
- Acne Juice on page 38
- Immune Dysfunction on page 97
- Skin problems on page 127
Carrot, ginger and apple, or celery, carrot, garlic and parsley make excellent combinations.
Livatone Plus Powder or Livatone Plus Capsules
- Take 1 teaspoon twice daily in water or juice, or take 2 capsules twice daily with meals – it is always important to improve the function of the liver, nervous system and immune system.
Selenium Complete Tablets or Selenomune Designer Energy Powder
- Take 2 tablets twice daily or 1 teaspoon twice daily – Selenium is an important mineral helping to support and strengthen immune function.
Fish Oil EPA-DHA
- Take 2 capsules two or three times daily – fish oil is excellent for the skin and is very anti-inflammatory.
MSM with Vitamin C
- Take 1 teaspoon twice daily in water or juice – MSM is needed to work at a cellular level.
Orthodox Medical Treatment
It is important that patients understand the nature of psoriasis and that treatment is suppressive but not curative. Following this, some patients may be happy with no treatment. However, although they may have no itch or irritation, many psoriasis sufferers find the skin lesions socially embarrassing. Fortunately, orthodox medicine can offer treatments that are very effective in clearing the skin. The most common treatments are various lotions, ointments, creams and shampoos including tar-based treatments, dithranol, salicylic acid, corticosteroids and calcipotriol (derived from vitamin D). Phototherapy using ultraviolet light is often very effective but has the inconvenience of requiring frequent attendances for the treatment, and the long term worry regarding UV exposure causing skin cancers and premature ageing of the skin. For very severe cases, drugs such as methotrexate or cyclosporin may be used. These can have some rather toxic side effects and should only be prescribed by a specialist dermatologist.